Author Archive

Oct
30

5 Ugly Cars We Love

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Written by Tom Appel in Ford, Honda, Humor, Nissan
2003 Honda Element

2003 Honda Element

If we learned just one thing from the Grumpy Cat web-meme phenomenon, it’s that beauty is but one of many points of attraction. What was it about Facebook’s favorite feline that motivated half the planet’s population to share and repost its image?

Oct
28
2008 Saturn Astra

Too little, too late? Imported from Europe, the Astra was meant to help lift the Saturn brand upmarket.

By now, you know the story. In a post-apocalyptic haze, driven by Wall Street pundits, the UAW, and the federal government, General Motors killed three brands in one fell swoop. Just like that, Hummer, Pontiac, and Saab were transformed from viable sales channels to discount retailers, peddling their remaining inventory in limited variations and at steep discounts.

Oct
27
Used cars for $250 a month

What can you buy for $250 a month?

Cars are expensive. If you own a car, or cars, you don’t need me to remind you how much you’re shelling out monthly for your wheels. For those not in the know, the average transaction price of a new car is now about $32,000.

Oct
24
1980 Riviera S Type

With 185-horsepower on tap, the Buick Riviera S Type was the 3rd most-powerful American car of 1980.

American muscle got the short shrift in 1980. As a result of the Summer Olympics embargo of 1980, America’s strongest athletes didn’t compete in Moscow, leaving most of the medals to be claimed by the Russians.

Oct
22

1980 Plymouth Gran Fury

When Chrysler Corporation rolled out its redesigned big car for 1979, it did so without including a Plymouth in the lineup. New for 1979—though arguably not new enough—were the Dodge St. Regis, replacing the Royal Monaco, and the Chrysler New Yorker and Newport, the latter of which was intended to be the affordable big car in Chrysler/Plymouth showrooms.

Oct
20
1980 Cadillac Eldorado

1980 Cadillac Eldorado

I’ve been told to “grow up” most of my life. About the time my folks gave up on me, my wife and daughter accepted the challenge of getting me to act my age. In deference to my family’s pet cause, I have decided to revisit my high-school years, this time reviewing those days through the clear (but squinty) eyes of a 50-year-old man.

Oct
16
Cigarette prices.

Not only will quitting smoking make you feel better, you can upgrade your ride, too, should you so choose. (Prices above as advertised in Lincolnwood, Illinois.)

I am not a man without vices. My daily caffeine regimen taps the Appel-family coffers for close to $100 a month. Not a huge amount of money by contemporary standards, but not a dismissible sum either.

I mention this having recently burrowed deep into the murky past, recalling a particular high-school personal-finance class lecture dealing with opportunity cost. The core message was simple enough: Money spent on one thing cannot be spent on something else.

Oct
10
1955 Chevrolet Biscayne Concept Car

Identify this 1955 concept car for one bonus point.

You know the drill–we give you an abstract portion of a brochure page, and you have to guess the vehicle featured. For this quiz we’re featuring the cars of 1955. All the vehicles in question were available for sale in the U.S. We can also tell you that none of the cars here are especially rare, obscure, or of a kit-car nature.

Oct
08
EPA Monroney Label

In it’s Fuel Economy Trends report, the EPA ranks U.S. vehicle retailers. Here’s how those companies stack up in terms of fleet fuel economy for 2013.

The U.S. new-vehicle fleet is the most efficient it’s ever been, this according to the 2014 edition of the EPA’s Fuel Economy Trends report.

Per the report, the average fuel economy of the new-vehicle fleet rose to 24.1 mpg for 2013, up .5 mpg over 2012. Included in the report are the EPA’s manufacturer estimates for 2014, which we present below.

Oct
06
1990 Silverado and 2015 Colorado

Are contemporary midsize trucks really full size? The chart below suggests the lines have blurred.

When convenience-store chain 7-11 introduced the Big Gulp fountain-drink cup in 1980, many consumers were scandalized by the container’s 32-ounce capacity. Indeed, the quart-size cup seemed massive compared to the 7-ounce returnable bottles Coca-Cola once charmingly considered a single serving. Shoppers got past their large-cup apprehension soon enough, however, as 7-11 would soon roll out 48-ounce Super-Big-Gulp and staggering 64-ounce Double-Gulp containers.

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